Teetotal Wilkinson nursed Cup hangover

LONDON Mon Oct 22, 2007 10:13am BST

1 of 2. England's Mathew Tait (L), Jonny Wilkinson (C) and Andy Gomarsall react after receiving their loser's medals after being beaten by South Africa in the Rugby World Cup final at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, near Paris, October 20, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Eddie Keogh

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LONDON (Reuters) - England's teetotal fly-half Jonny Wilkinson revealed he broke the habit of a lifetime after the World Cup final defeat to South Africa on Saturday and ended up nursing a hangover.

"I suspect that it is widely known that I am teetotal. Well I broke the habit of pretty much a lifetime after the game on Saturday night and had a bit of a blow-out.

"It was the first time in years and simply seemed the right time and the right thing to do," he wrote in his column in The Times.

He also said he felt like a spectator watching South Africa being presented with the cup after their 15-6 victory in the Stade de France.

"It is important to respect and applaud the winners the way that Australia did for us (when England won in 2003).

"But it was a strange experience standing and watching the South Africans and the presentation of the cup. I almost felt like a spectator as though I wasn't there on the pitch at all."

He also said his injured right ankle troubled him throughout the tournament and he had to have treatment on it almost every day and at halftime during the final.

"I haven't been able to kick on the right foot at all," he wrote.

"I had one speculative dropped goal attempt off my right in the Samoa game, another against France in the semi-final that hit the post and the third was the long-range one in the final in which I didn't have enough power.

"It is fair to say that it has limited my options here."

He said his priority was to recover properly "and get myself into a position where I can start taking my rugby forward again. I need my ankle to clear first, and my head, too."

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